September 28, 2007
Drew, Brittany Brees give Purdue $2 million for Student-Athlete Academic CenterWEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
The gift, to be announced Friday night (Sept. 28) at the Purdue Athletics Directors Dinner in the Ross-Ade Pavilion, will enhance an academic area to be named the Drew and Brittany Brees Student-Athlete Academic Center in the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility.
Drew, now the starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, played for the Boilermakers from 1997 to 2000 and earned a bachelor's degree in industrial management. As a student-athlete, he received the inaugural Socrates Award, recognizing the nation's finest athlete in terms of academics, athletics and community service.
Brittany also attended Purdue, earning a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership and supervision in 2000. She runs the Brees Dream Foundation full time in its mission to provide education and create opportunities for disadvantaged children, especially those suffering from the debilitating effects of cancer. The Brees Dream Foundation also is involved in a campaign with Operation Kids, dedicated to serving the many needs of New Orleans children – their education, health, welfare, safety and well-being.
"Drew Brees was an outstanding scholar-athlete at Purdue, and he and Brittany have been exemplary citizens of New Orleans," Purdue President France A. Córdova said. "By investing in academic support for the members of our Boilermaker teams, they are helping us build on Purdue's tradition of strong competitive sports and excellence in academics."
The Student-Athlete Academic Center currently consists of a computer lab and study, research and tutor areas totaling 6,500 square feet. Plans call for the space to increase to 11,000 square feet after offices currently occupied by coaches and administrators are moved into Mackey Arena as part of that facility's makeover, which is scheduled to be completed in 2011.
"Drew and Brittany's gift reinforces their commitment to having it both ways – championships and diplomas," said Morgan J. Burke, Purdue's director of intercollegiate athletics. "Drew was a great student and a great athlete and, when we talked about this opportunity, he told me this just fits for him because he wanted to give back to Purdue for his experience, while at the same time showing that at Purdue you can be successful in competition and in the classroom. The naming of the Student-Athlete Academic Center for Drew and Brittany will serve as a beacon for future generations of Boilermakers.
"It is fitting that the signage on the Student-Athlete Academic Center will overlook a walk Drew took on a regular basis from the football locker room in the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility to Ross-Ade Stadium. It is a linking of two venues in which he had great success."
Brees arrived at Purdue from Austin, Texas, as a little-known quarterback. He left as one of the most-decorated players in school history.
* He holds two NCAA records, 12 Big Ten Conference records and 18 Purdue records.
* He was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and two-time first team all-conference selection.
* He won the 2000 Maxwell Award as the nation's outstanding player and the "Chicago Tribune" Silver Football as the Big Ten Most Valuable Player.
* He was the 2000 Academic All-American of the Year.
A member of head coach Joe Tiller's first Purdue recruiting class, Brees became a starter his sophomore year and went on to carry the Boilermakers to heights not reached in more than three decades. As a senior, Brees led Purdue to a Big Ten championship and a trip to the Rose Bowl. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist his junior and senior seasons, finishing fourth and third, respectively.
Brees was selected in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers and played with them for five seasons before signing as a free agent with the New Orleans Saints in March of 2006. He is a two-time Pro Bowl selection, was the 2004 Comeback Player of the Year and co-winner of the 2006 NFL Man of the Year Award. In his first season with the Saints, Brees rewrote the club's record book, led the team to its most successful season and helped an entire community looking to rebound from Hurricane Katrina in the process. He led the Saints to the NFC championship game after completing 356 of 554 passes for an NFL-high 4,418 yards with 26 touchdowns.
Brittany was born in Cleveland, grew up in Buffalo Grove, Ill., near Chicago, and finished high school in Indiana.
As a rallying point on the road to pre-eminence, Burke and his senior administrative staff coined the term "25/75 Club" to articulate a vision of an intercollegiate athletics organization that achieves an average finish in the top 25 across all sports and graduates 75 percent of student-athletes.
The only universities to attain this are Duke University, the University of North Carolina, the University of Notre Dame, Penn State University and Stanford University.
For the 2006-07 academic year, Purdue finished 35th in the Directors' Cup standings among 300 NCAA Division I programs and had a graduation rate of 72 percent.
Writer: Tom Schott, (765) 494-3145, firstname.lastname@example.org
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; email@example.com
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